the Americas Trip
and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index
Return to the South America Index
Return to the Ecuador Index
ECUADOR: Milpe, Tandayapa, and Quito
07 - 11 July 2010
by Connie Nelson
Jose (with San Jorge Eco Lodges) picked me up at the airport and we had a wonderful drive up the hill overlooking Quito. My room was very comfortable with a large window overlooking the feeders – no idea yet what birds I am seeing. Dinner at 7 pm – food was very good. Ice cream for dessert !
Thursday, July 8:
Woke up feeling the altitude – feeling pretty ill. Water is the answer – drink drink drink. Coca tea also helps. Met Jorge, our birding guide, who is also the owner of the lodges. Very knowledgeable and very comfortable. We saw so many birds without the use of tapes. Jorge knows their calls and is very good at spotting them. We birded the property around the lodge and then drove to a nearby park in search of the Giant Hummingbird. No luck but a good try. Back to the lodge for a wonderful lunch and a short rest. Off again driving higher and higher on a dirt road. We stopped and walked about three miles round trip finding wonderful birds along the way. At the end we came to a variety of hummingbird feeders and the most amazing hummingbirds everywhere. Too soon we had to leave as it was getting dark. Stopped to enjoy a most beautiful sunset along the way.
Friday, July 9:
Left the lodge in Quito and headed for the lodge at Tandayapa, which is in the cloud forest. We stopped in the little town of Nono and had a most wonderful time. A beautiful central plaza and wonderfully friendly people. As the rain was coming, we drove past the lodge and on to a nearby lodge to enjoy their hummingbird feeders. More amazing b irds. Back to our lodge where we were dropped off at the bottom entrance. Our bags were picked up by someone and we walked up and up to the lodge. Rather than destroying the forest for a road, Jorge chose to have his visitors walk and enjoy the forest as a most wonderful entrance to Tandayapa. It is a bit strenuous but nothing that any active birder can’t handle and many opportunities to stop and rest if needed. It is impossible not to gasp and smile when walking into your room. So very comfortable with a huge picture window covering the entire side of the room looking out into the forest. None of us wanted to leave our rooms. We got together for a short walk and sat on a bench while Jorge talked about the history and ecology of the area. Dinner was at 7:30 and the food was wonderful. Jorge’s wife has trained as a chef and oversees the cooks at all the lodges. After dinner we went for a night walk and enjoyed the variety of moths that congregated around the path lights.
Saturday, July 10:
We met early and enjoyed a particular tree where the moths seem to congregate after their night. The birds also know about this tree and we just checked off species after species, enjoying very good looks at all. I had the morning to myself and enjoyed a walk around the property. Jorge’s son, Jorge Jr., is also a birding guide and he showed me a great spot just before lunch where we saw many more species. After lunch we walked down the hill again and off to the lodge at Milpe. There are new rooms at Milpe that weren’t open yet, but the old lodge was wonderful. More rustic than Tandayapa, but very comfortable. A large deck overlooking the forest.
My last day of birding and Jorge made the most of it. We went on a wonderful morning hike and then back for breakfast. After breakfast we went on a longer hike with beautiful scenery and wonderful birds. The location at Milpe is incredible – waterfalls, creeks and forest. It’s warmer and a bit more humid than Tandayapa, but nothing like Sacha Lodge. Much more comfortable.
It was a most exciting and wonderful trip. I hope to return someday and do it all again. The birds were incredible – 204 species in 4 ½ days at Quito, Tandayapa and Milpe:
Bird Trip List
-- 204 Species
Southern Rough-winged Swallow
White-winged Brush Finch
Rufous-naped Brush Finch